Continuing Legal Education

Magnus’ Dr. Pigott is available to speak to attorneys nationwide. Dr. Pigott is frequently invited to speak on specific topics and, in addition, Magnus provides educational programs to further the study of psychology and the law. The list below provides a sampling of the topics included in our course offerings. More complete details are available upon request. Audiences for these programs have included law firm litigation sections at firm retreats or lunch/dinner meetings as well as bar associations during regularly, or specially scheduled, meetings. Fees for these courses, if any, vary depending on length of course, and nature of presentation or audience. (See Dr. Pigott’s CV for a complete list of past presentations.)

 

1 Credit Hour Courses

Course Title General Content Description
The Attorney as Teacher The role of the attorney during mediation, arbitration, or trial is to teach new information to the audience: mediators, arbitrators, judges, or jurors. This course provides and understanding of how people learn and techniques for ensuring that the attorney’s message is processed, understood, and remembered.
Common Mistakes in Voir Dire Based on decades of observing attorneys selecting jurors in trials, Dr. Pigott published an article listing the top 25 mistakes she has observed during voir dire. This course is a review of those errors, with an emphasis on how to avoid them.
Ethics in Litigation Research The ways in which ethical considerations are a part of jury or fact finder research is the basis of this program. Ethics impact the usefulness of jury research and guidelines for evaluating the ethics of jury researchers and their methods are addressed.
Jurors Say the Darnest Things Despite having heard thousands of mock jurors deliberate, the jurors still have the ability to surprise, shock, and amaze Magnus’ trial consulting team. In the jurors’ efforts to get to the heart of a matter, they decide the issues in ways that surprise Magnus’ clients as well. Magnus has compiled some of the more interesting discussions in this presentation to demonstrate how the jurors reached their decisions. While some of the discussions are humorous, the ramifications were usually serious for the trial teams involved. Dr. Pigott will explain the context and implications of the deliberations shown in the video clips during this presentation.
Maximizing Voir Dire Developing the skills to derive maximum benefit of the time and format available for jury selection is crucial for success as a trial lawyer. This program provides tips for techniques to use to learn as much as possible from the venire during voir dire.
Voir Dire Proficiency   The focus of this program is how to make the most of the available time to conduct voir dire. Dr. Pigott offers insight into ways to maximize voir dire success, especially when time is limited.
Utilizing Psychological Science in Litigation The explanation of the science employed in litigation research is the goal of this program. Clarifying the process which yields information to improve fact finders’ decision making is crucial to understanding how to maximize what is learned from litigation research.
Utilizing Psychological Science in Alternative Dispute Resolution Due to the increase in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), it is important to consider the decision making propensities of the decision makers – whether mediators or arbitrators. The goal of this program is to explain how cases can be evaluated and prepared for ADR using psychological science to improve overall outcomes.
Junk Science is Junk, not Science  This program is designed to educate attorneys about the differences between properly conducted arbitration, mediation, and jury research provided by qualified research organizations and improperly conducted research provided by unqualified consultants.  Both historical and current junk science trends are reviewed, followed by details on ways to be an informed consumer of litigation research. This presentation is designed for attorneys of all experience levels.

 

3 Credit Hour Courses

Course Title General Content Description
Common Mistakes in Voir Dire (with demonstration) Based on decades of observing attorneys selecting jurors in trials, Dr. Pigott published an article listing the top 25 mistakes she has observed during voir dire. This course is a review of those errors, with an emphasis on how to avoid them. In addition to a presentation of the materials, this course includes an interactive demonstration of voir dire using volunteer attorneys and mock jurors. Magnus works with the organization for whom the presentation is given to develop a protocol for the demonstration.
Juror Versus Jury Decision Making Understanding principles of how group decisions are achieved is crucial to understanding how to influence those decisions. Exploring the differences in the way a single person (juror or judge) reaches a decision and a group (jury) does so is the basis for this program.
Maximizing Voir Dire (with demonstration) Developing the skills to derive maximum benefit of the time and format available for jury selection is crucial for success as a trial lawyer. This program provides tips for techniques to use to learn as much as possible from the venire during voir dire. In addition to a presentation of the materials, this course includes an interactive demonstration of voir dire using volunteer attorneys and mock jurors. Magnus works with the organization for whom the presentation is given to develop a protocol for the demonstration.
The Role of Cognitive Psychology in the Practice of Law Cognitive psychology is the science of learning and memory, both of which play a role in fact finder/juror decision making. This course explains how understanding various cognitive science theories can be important to success at trial.
The Role of the Scientific Method in the Practice of Law Scientific research of all types is governed by guiding principles pertaining to methods, techniques, etc. This program delves into these principles, particularly as they relate to methods used in jury research.
The Role of Social Psychology in the Practice of Law Social psychology is the study of group and individual factors that affect human behavior and decision making. A knowledge of social psychological theories will enhance the ability of an attorney who is striving to influence behavior and decisions.
Voir Dire: What You Should Know Before Asking Your First Question How to make the most of the available time to conduct voir dire is the focus of this program. Dr. Pigott provides a scientific overview of jury decision making followed by practical tips on how to formulate voir dire questions for maximum impact.

 

Full Day Courses

Course Title General Content Description
Mock Trial Seminar This seminar provides a thorough overview of the trial process, while focusing on the jury’s role. Jury deliberations and decisions are examined in an in depth fashion utilizing case facts developed to be meaningful to the audience. Magnus works with the organization for whom the presentation is given to develop a protocol for the demonstration. Volunteers are needed for the roles of counsel, witnesses, and jurors.